6 months

Well, Miss Audrey is already 6 months old.  So, it's time for a bit of an update.  Audrey is such a wonderful little addition to our family.  Geoff and I are both entirely smitten with this little chica.  She's easy-going and smart and so busy.  She loves attention and is very pleased with herself when she completes a goal (like getting to the cable in the corner that looks so tantalizing).

She's crazy about him.
At her 6th month appointment she weighed in at 14 lbs 6 oz and 27 inches long.  So, she's not a big baby weight-wise, but she is long.

Our ridiculous doctor appointment selfie
About a month ago she learned that she could roll to get around and now she doesn't stay put for very long.  Will was pretty much stationary until he could crawl at 9 months (he scooted on his back a bit, but didn't venture far), so this has been an adjustment for us to have
a little one getting around the house.  She's started pulling those knees up a little bit under her, too, so crawling is probably sooner than we'd like to think.

We started introducing solids a few weeks ago as well.  She LOVES to eat.  She's mostly had cereals and fruits and veggies at this point, but she gets very excited when you put her in her chair to eat.  She's messy, too, because she wants to help so much.

She's a little obsessed with cups and if you are drinking while holding her you have to watch out.  However, she's also easily entertained if you give her a cup to play with.
Sweet lady
She's a little tentative around strangers and reserves her grins and giggles for those who she knows the best.  When we are out and about we often get told that she "looks like a cabbage patch doll" or that she "should be a Gerber baby."  The combination of her loads of hair and her big, expressive eyes seem to give off that doll vibe.

Will's a good helper
We are just crazy about this little lady and Will is, too.  He has to give her a kiss before she goes to bed at night.  If she's crying, he'll give her her pacifier and shout "I helped baby feel better!" or he'll come find Geoff or I and tell us that we need to "Go help baby."  He sometimes calls her "Baby Kookoo" (thanks, Geoff), but then he'll laugh and say, "No.  Her name is Baby Audrey."  Now that she can get into his toys he's gotten a little possessive if she's got one of his cars, but he's always gentle and careful around her.
Cars are fun!
So, there's your little update on our growing little lady.  We're so glad she's here.

Bed head and morning smiles


Breastfeeding's Ugly Cousin

So, it's World Breastfeeding Week this week.  As a breastfeeding mother, I wanted to do a little post with what has been on my mind lately relating to breastfeeding.

Disclaimer: I love that I can breastfeed my baby.  I do think that breastfeeding is the best feeding option for infants.  However, I know that breastfeeding is not possible or desirable to all mamas.  Please, feed your baby whatever and however you like.  :)

Audrey has reached the age where eating is more fun than it is functional. She likes to pop off and then give me this look:

She's adorable.  I love sharing those grins with her.  I love feeling her body relax when she's upset and feeding her can provide comfort.  In public, I try to be discreet (I'm not one to just pop my nipples out), but I don't hesitate to feed her when and where she needs it.  I think breastfeeding is a beautiful thing.
But, breastfeeding has an ugly cousin.  You may have heard of it: pumping.  As any working mom (and many other moms whose babies can't latch or choose to pump for other reasons) knows, pumping is the exact opposite experience from the beautiful, sweet one of breastfeeding your baby.  Pumping is cumbersome, sometimes painful, isolating, and stressful (Did I pump enough?  Why does she drink more from a bottle then I can pump? Is she starving? Am I a failure as a woman and mother? Why is this so hard!? - just a few of the thoughts I think nearly every pumping mama has experienced).  

I am VERY lucky to work from home most days.  Because Geoff is at home right now as well, this means I get to feed Audrey more-or-less on demand (she gets a bottle of breast milk when I've got meetings).  However, a few weeks ago I had an on-site week with my work team and I was away from home Monday-Saturday.  I pumped exclusively for that week.  

Breastfeeding while traveling can be hard sometimes.  I traveled a lot with Will when he was young.  I was new to breastfeeding and tried to hide a bit, but there were mother's rooms and chairs in the corner where I could go to feed.

Airport bathrooms are swanky
Pumping is different.  You don't pump in a mother's room. Maybe some mom's do, but when people are coming in and out changing diapers and the pump is exposing my whole chest, I'm not comfortable with that.  So, I ended up pumping in airport bathroom stalls, restaurant bathrooms, etc...this was not beautiful.  Public toilets rarely have lids, too, so I couldn't even sit to pump (and even when I could, it's still gross).

Everywhere I went for a week, I was carrying around my pump, bottles, ice packs, cleansing wipes, storage bags (not to mention my computer and work supplies).  It was exhausting.  And by the end of the week I really felt frustrated that there aren't more appropriate public places provided for pumping mothers.
Breastfeeding awareness has come a long way.  It's no longer looked down upon to breastfeed in public (although I'm a LOT more comfortable doing it in the SF Bay Area then I was in North Dakota).  But, no one talks about pumping in public.  Employers are required to provide appropriate pumping spaces, but what about airports, restaurants, rest stops, coffee shops, etc...

Pumping exclusively for a week was very difficult, not so much because the pumping is hard (you get the hang of it), but because I felt relegated to bathroom stalls and hiding to do it.  Even my husband, who I was talking to about the logistics of pumping and the new (smaller) pump I had acquired before I left on my trip, at one point said to me, "That's great, honey.  But, you know, no one wants to hear you talk about pumping."  And he's right.  Pumping is weird.  It's not tender, it's not beautiful, it's not natural.  

So, here I am.  Talking about it.  Proud of myself for doing it and hoping that I can inspire at least one other mama to pump proudly.  It's not a beautiful experience like breastfeeding can be (although, let's all admit that the first few weeks of breastfeeding can be pretty terrible), but it allows us to provide for our little ones even while we're away - and I'd do anything for that little one.


The Baby Whisperer

Audrey is a very chatty baby.  Ever since she learned that she can roll to get around the house, she's been pretty much the happiest baby you can imagine.  She'll roll somewhere interesting and then sit and yammer on and on about whatever baby things are on her mind. 

So. a few days ago she was chatting and I asked Will, "Hey, Will - What's baby saying?"  I was a little surprised when he looked at Audrey and listened for a second and turned back to me and informed me that "Baby says she wants to watch School Bus." (As in The Magic School Bus, Will's current show of choice.)

So, ever since then he's taken it upon himself to let me know what the baby is saying.  Sometimes it's self-serving (i.e. she wants you to turn on my favorite show), but sometimes it's just down right adorable.  I was holding Audrey yesterday and she was making lots of noise.  Will got really close to her and said "What's baby talking about?"  I said, "I don't know, what is she talking about?"

He smiled at me and said, "She says 'I love you, mama.'" 

I told him, "I love baby!"  To which he declared, "I love baby, too" and he gave both of us a big hug. 

This turned into a whole round of "I love you"s.

I'm going to go ahead and assume that he's totally right and Audrey was just trying to let me know how much she loved me.  And, heck, maybe sometimes she just really wants to watch The Magic School Bus, too.